The late David Foster Wallace’s opus is being read by a whole bunch of people this summer.
Ron Nirwisah in the National Post:
Dubbing his campaign Infinite Summer, Baldwin established a website that casts Wallace’s dense tale of tennis prodigies, Quebec separatists and a mysterious video cartridge as breezy summer project. Baldwin’s pitch? A thousand pages divided by 92 days means just 75 pages a week. “No sweat,” the website reassures.
“That’s a little tongue in cheek,” admits Baldwin. “75 pages a week is no big deal if the novel is 150 pages long, sort of like running a six-minute mile is no big deal if you’re only running one mile. But I’m going to try and stick to that schedule.”
Part book club, part support group, Infinite Summer has already earned endorsements from Colin Meloy of the Decemberists and John Hodgman, the author and Daily Show contributor. (The former announced he will be reading along; the later will not, but described Baldwin’s idea as a “noble and crazy enterprise.”) More than 2,000 people joined companion groups on Twitter and Facebook prior to June 21, the first day of summer and the official reading start date.
Blographia Literaria is apparently taking the challange. First post up here on the content of the book.
So is Jeffery Battersby:
I suppose that I am now a day or so behind the rest of the gang. I blame this on the fact that I decided to continue reading A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again last night rather than dig into Infinite Jest. Problem is that I’m just enjoying ASFTINDA so much that I couldn’t bear to put it down.
It’s a beast of a book. It’s opaque and daunting at first, but slowly pattern emerges and it becomes something simple and wonderful. Join in if you haven’t read it, if only so you’re well read enough to get the title of this blog. Or not.
Matt Y focuses on another topic in connection with Infinite Summer:
Last night I was reading various people’s tweets about Infinite Summer and found myself caught up in the enthusiasm and suddenly burning with a desire to read Infinite Jest. Since using the Kindle is really the only practical way to buy a book at 11 PM, that’s what I did. Then I read some before going to sleep. And in doing so, I think I stumbled upon an inadvertent flaw in the Kindle. Namely, what when you read really long books—particularly as part of a quasi-group enterprise—you want to either brag about how many pages you’ve read or else whine about how many pages you’ve fallen behind. But the Kindle doesn’t have pages! Just, um, locations.
So I read 1,100 locations worth of the book. But nobody knows what that means. Normal people won’t even know if that’s a lot or a little.
UPDATE: And there’s a group blog, A Supposedly Fun Thing, with Ezra Klein, Matt Y, Julian Sanchez and others.
UPDATE #2: Bloggingheads with Conor Clarke and Conor Friedersdorf
Freddie at The League
UPDATE #3: Alan Jacobs, a year later